Tag Archives: Jasta 5

6 June 1917 – Big prep

British aircraft were active all over the front in preparation for tomorrow’s offensive, carrying out photography, bombing and reconnaissance. There were anumber of big fights, the largest of which took place between a 7 strong patrol from 54 Squadron RFC and six Nieuports of 6 Naval Squadron escorting 22 Squadron RFC and its FEs? They were set upon by  “a very large formation of Hostile aicraft” from Jasta 2, Jasta 5 and Jasta 12.

The British claimed eight aircraft downed, three of which were seen to crash. One of these was Werner Voss from Jasta 5 who suffered minor wounds after he was forced down by 6 Naval Squadron. Both Squadron Commander Christopher Draper and  Flight Sub-Lieutenant Ronald Francis Redpath.


Charles Elliot Sutcliffe

Around the same time, Flight Lieutenant Fabian Pember Reeves, also from 6 Naval Squadron , was shot down and killed in his Nieuport 17 (N3204). Voss claimed this but it is also possible that his aircraft broke up manoevring.


Edward Grevelnk

54 Squadron also suffered as Major Charles Elliott Sutcliffe in Sopwith Pup B1730 was shot down by Leutnant Hermann Becker from Jasta 12, and Lt Edward James Yzenhold Grevelink was shot down in Sopwith Pup A7306 by Vitzfeldwebel Robert Riessinger also from Jasta 12. Both were killed.


28 March 1917 – A good day for Jasta 5


Keith Logan Caldwell

B flight of 60 Squadron was on an offensive patrol near Lens. Two of the Original five aircraft had dropped out due to engine trouble. The three remaining aircraft, led by Captain Keith Logan Caldwell attacked two enemy two seaters. They were then attacked themselves by three enemy scouts. Caldwell got into a one-on-one with one of the attackers eventually driving him off. 2nd Lieutenant Ralph Uriel Phalen in Nieuport 23 B1624 failed to return from the mission and was assumed killed. Leutnant Kurt Schuhmann from Jasta 5 claimed the victory though evidence is scant.

Jasta 5 then went to destroy a 25 Squadron photo reconnaissance  mission over Douai, about 12km behind the German lines. At this point the flight was down to 4 machines, three of which were lost.

  • 2nd Lieutenant Edward Harris Stevens and Lance Corporal C Sturrock in FE2d A32 claimed by Leutnant Kurt Schneider. They lost the undercarriage in the crash and Stevens was badly wounded
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    Aubrey de Selincourt

    Captain Aubrey De Selincourt and Lieutenant Harry Cotton in FE2d A6378 were forced down with a damaged engine and crashed – claimed by Leutnant Werner Voss

  • Lieutenant Thomas Noble Southorn and Lieutenant Vivian Smith in FE2d A6410 crashed when forced to land with a shot up engine and radiator – claimed by Vitzfeldwebel Otto Könnecke

All six crew members were taken prisoner but Stevens later died of his wounds. Aubrey De Selincourt later became a well-known author of classical and sailing books.

30 April 1917 – “Richthofen’s Circus”

Today saw a change in tactics by the German High Command. The fighter units attached to the Arras Corps at Douai were combined to form one group which could operate as a massed fighting formation. This group was immediately dubbed ‘Richthofen’s Circus’ by RFC pilots. This was a loose arrangement and the formal combination into a single unit did not in fact take place until June 1917.

The new group set off for the first time this morning. Their first encounter was with seven FE2d’s of a line patrol of 57 Squadron and three Sopwith triplanes of 8 Naval Squadron. Two of the FEs were shot down in the German lines and the crews taken prisoner.

  • Lieutenant Percy Thomas Bowers and 2nd Lieutenant Samuel Torton Wills in FE2d A6402 – shot down by Lothar von Richthofen from Jasta 11
  • 2nd Lieutenant Edward Dudley Jennings and 2nd Lieutenant John Robinson Lingard – shot down by Adolf Ritter von Tutschek from Jasta 12

John Henry Ryan

A third FE2d (A6380) with Lieutenant John Henry Ryan and 2nd Lieutenant Benjamin Graham Soutten was shot up and crashed behind the British lines. Both were wounded but Ryan later died of his wounds. A fourth, with Lieutenant Charles Stewart Morice and Lieutenant Forde Leathey in FE2d A1966  was also shot up and crashed near Roclincourt. The crew were ok though. The triplanes succeeded after a bitter fight, during which several German fighters were driven down, in extricating the there remaining FEs.

The German group then turned away, joined a number of two seaters, and came across a formation of six Bristol Fighters on their way, escorted by five Sopwith triplanes, to reconnoitre a reported trench system east of Douai. There followed a continuous fight for twenty minutes in which three SE5s of 56 Squadron joined (Captain Cyril Marconi Crowe, Lieutenant John Owen Leach, and 2nd Lieutenant Maurice Alfred Kay). Two of the enemy aeroplanes were shot down and seen to crash and one SE5 – Kay in A4866 – was brought down in flames – killing Kay – by Edmund Nathanael from Jasta 5. This was the first SE5 lost in combat. In the end, the Bristol Fighters had to abandon their reconnaissance attempt and, with their Sopwith escort, fight their way home.

The enemy group, now numbering fifteen, turned south, followed by two of the Sopwith triplanes, and found a photographic formation of eight FE2b’s from 18 Squadron. The enemy fighters attacked and the two Sopwiths joined in the fighting which lasted half an hour. Two of the FEs were shot down:

  • Sergeant Thomas Whiteman and 2nd Class Air Mechanic James H Wynn in FE2b 6998 – by Leutnant Hans Klein from  Jasta 4
  • 2nd Lieutenant Stanley Harold Bell and Lieutenant David William McLeod in FE2b A5481

Both managed to make it back over the lines. Whiteman crashed in a forced landing wounding Wynn who later died. Bell also force landed but both crew were unharmed. The remainder, with the help of the Sopwiths, fought their way back home.

28 April 1917 – More of the same

Captain Albert Ball from 56 Squadron was out on a lone wolf patrol in his SE5 (A4850). First he claimed to have driven down a hostile machine near Noyelles. He then destroyed an Albatros two-seater west of Cambrai. Finally he waited above the clouds for any hostile machines to appear and saw a two-seater Albatros which he promptly pursued. The enemy put its nose down and fled.

When at about 500 feet from the ground Captain Ball’s machine was hit by anti-aircraft and most of his controls were shot away and the fuselage was very severely damaged. He got into a spin but righted it and returned to the aerodrome where he made a perfect landing. In the event he was only credited with the Albatross west of Cambrai (for his 36th victory) – though German records do not record any losses that day.

Jasta 11 was also at work again. Early in the moring Manfred von Richthofen brought down 2nd Lieutenant Reginald William Follit and 2nd Lieutenant Frederick James Kirkham from 13 Squadron in BE2e 7221. Both were taken prisoner but Follit died shortly afterwards of his wounds.

Later that morning another group from Jasta 11 clashed with 16 Squadron. Leutnant Kurt Wolff shot down 2nd Lieutenant John Victor Wischer and 2nd Lieutenant Arthur A Baerlein in BE2g A2745. Both were taken prisoner.

16 Squadron suffered further casualties when Captain Augustus Wieland Bird and 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Charles Perryman in BE2e A2896 – had their patrol tank hit. They wrecked the aircraft making a forced landing near Vimy. Perryman was injured in the crash.


Eric Ogilvie McMurtry

Finally, Major Eric Ogilvie McMurtry And Lieutenant Harry Denver Mason were killed when their BE2e A2944 was hit by a British shell destroying the aircraft.

Last of all 2nd Lieutenant Clifford M Reece and 2nd Class Air Mechanic A Moult from 43 Squadron were shot down by Edmund Nathanael from Jasta 5  in their Sopwith Strutter A993.

7 April 1917 – 60 Squadron takes another beating


George Orme Smart

Two flights of 60 Squadron were on patrol over Wacourt, some 4km over the German lines, when they were jumped by a five strong patrol from Jasta 11 led by Manfred Von Richthofen.


Charles Sidney Hall

During the fight, 2nd Lieutenant George Orme Smart was shot down in his Nieuport 17 (A6645) – his aircraft was later found burnt out between the lines. Lieutenant Charles Sidney Hall in Nieuport 23 A6766 was also shot down in flames and killed. Their colleague 2nd Lieutenant Hamilton E Hervey was badly shot up in his Nieuport 17 (B1517) but managed to get back over the lines.

Richthofen, Kurt Wolff and Karl-Emil Shaeffer all made claims. The traditional record is that Smart was shot down by Richthofen but this seems to be a case of pulling rank by Richthofen and it is more likely he attacked Hervey as their records of the encounter are similar. This would leave Schaeffer as the victor over Smart. Kurt Wolff accounted for Hall.

Also shot down, but taken prisoner, was Captain Maurice Baxendale Knowles in Nieuport 17 A6773. He was attacked by Leutnant Wilhelm Frankl from Jasta 4.

Lieutenant Billy Bishop claimed to have shot down an Albatros Scout and a balloon destroyed, but there was no evidence to substantiate his claims. Lieutenant Alan Binnie also had a go at a balloon but it failed to set it alight.IMG_0919.PNG

6 April 1917 – Heavy Losses

Today saw one of the heaviest days of fighting in the air of the war so far. The RFC suffered 28 aircraft shot down, whilst claiming to have destroyed 15 enemy aircraft and forced down another 16.

At this point in war, the British pusher types were now completely outclassed by the new German fighters.on 3 April, IV Brigade had ordered that FE2bs were not to be flown over the lines. However necessity entailed there use at the cost of many losses. For example, 57 Squadron equipped with the marginally better FE2d, was attacked by a number of Jastas and five of its aircraft shot down.


Thomas Frank Burrill

First, Jasta 5 got in on the act with Leutnant Heinrich Gontermann shooting down Lieutenant Thomas Frank Burrill and Private F Smith in FE2d A1959, and Edmund Nathanael shooting down 2nd Lieutenant Hugh Douglas Hamilton and Private E Snelling in FE2d A6388. All four were taken prisoner.

A few minutes later, Jasta 12 arrived and Leutnant Otto Splitberger shot down Lieutenant Douglas Clarkson Birch and Lieutenant Jonathan Keith Bousfield MC in FE2d A21, followed by Hauptmann Paul Hennig von Osterroht shooting down Captain Arthur Claud Wright and Private R Sibley in FE2d A1952. Birch and Bousefield were taken prisoner but Wright and Sibley limped back over the lines before crashing. Wright was wounded.

Finally, Lieutenant Raymond Terrance Brymer Schreiber and 2nd Lieutenant Martin Lewis in FE2d A22 –were shot down and taken prisoner by Obleutnant Adolf von Tutscheck from Jasta 2.

During the battle Oberleutnant Hans Berr and his wingmate Leutnant Paul Hoppe collided and were killed.


Theophilus Chater Vernon

On the plus side, a five-man patrol led by Flight Commander Theophilus Chater Vernon, 3 Naval Squadron were carrying out an offensive patrol in their Sopwith Pups when they met four enemy aircraft attacking a BE2 formation, and shot them all down. Those claiming victory were the other four – Flight Commander Lloyd Samuel Breadner, Flight Sub-Lieutenant Joseph Stewart Temple Fall, Flight Sub-Lieutenant Alfred Williams Carter, and Flight Sub-Lieutenant Frederick Carr Armstrong.





25 March 1917 – 70 Squadron annihilated

Despite the losses yesterday, 70 Squadron was sent out again at dawn to reconnoitre Cambrai to determine the extent of the German withdrawal. Six Sopwith Strutters set off and one returned (A956) with engine trouble to report the rest were engaged over Cambrai by 9 enemy scouts from Jastas 5 and 6. In the end, they were the lucky ones as the other six were shot down and the 12 crew killed.


Eric Joseph Henderson


Those killed were:

  • Lieutenant Charles Stewart Vane-Tempest and 2nd Lieutenant Fred Allinson MC (7763) claimed by Leutnant Karl Deilmann from Jasta 6
  • Capt Eric Joseph Henderson MC and 2nd Lieutenant John Moir Sim (A2986) claimed by Leutnant Heinrich Gontermann from Jasta 5


    John Moir Sim

  • 2nd Lieutenant Harry Butler and Lieutenant Leslie Archibald Norris (A884) claimed by Vitzfeldwebel Häussler from Jasta 5
  • Lieutenant John Stephen Cooper and 2nd Lieutenant Alexander Norman MacQueen (A954) claimed by Edmund Nathanael from, Jasta 5


    Alexander Norman MacQueen

  • Lieutenant Leonard Stanley Ward-Price and Lieutenant Harry Athelstan Chuter (A958) claimed by Paul Hoppe from Jasta 5.